It is with great excitement and honour that I am to be writing the blog this week for the Co-op. I have been awaiting the start of my internship with Gung Hoe with much anticipation ever since the idea was proposed over two months ago!
I first heard about Gung Hoe and the Co-operative about two years ago, when I moved to Bendigo to start my Bachelor of Outdoor Education at Latrobe University. I was lucky enough to have Sass as my leader for one of my trips. I knew pretty much immediately that I was in the presence of a super rad human being. The trip had a “sustainability” focus and Sass mentioned the farm and the possibility of us as a group putting in some labour in exchange for some fresh produce to take on the trip. So off we went! I think from the moment I stepped on the farm I knew something special was going on and that I wanted to be part of it somehow. Awesome that here I am now, about to start a six-month internship.
Food has been a massive part of my life ever since I was old enough to look around me and see the effect that large-scale agriculture is having on the health of people and land. Growing up in Sydney, I never thought too hard about where my food came from. As far as I was concerned, food came from the shops and was the gift of the lady behind the counter who bipped and bagged it each time. Perhaps a passion for food was alive in me even then, as I always looked up to those check-out people – bearers of food – and aspired to one day follow in their footsteps (though that dream did, thankfully, vanish around the age of 7). When I was 20 years old I was blessed with a sickness during my travels in India and only then was I suddenly forced to pay attention to what I was eating and where is was coming from. Thus began my journey into our current food system and all the troubles, complications and complexities that come with it.
During these turbulent and pivotal times we are living in, I am in constant search for ways in which I can be of most service to the protection, resurrection and regeneration of life on this planet. I guess it is this purpose that drove me to take a break from university this year and get back in touch with things that feel important. Strangely enough, the Covid pandemic has helped me remember what these things are. When the foundations of our social, economic and political systems are faced with potential collapse, the need for food and water security becomes more apparent. The only issue is that current large-scale agricultural systems are having devastating effects on the health of our land, water and all living things that rely on them. Regenerative agriculture and holistic systems of farming seem to be one of the most positive responses I have encountered to the current ecological crises we all face. I believe Gung Hoe and HOFC are living the change that is needed, and I am absolutely excited and delighted to be a part of it.
I am incredibly grateful to be given this opportunity to learn how it is possible to regenerate country whilst feeding and strengthening community. I only hope to be able to give my full attention and openness to this internship and that I leave with more confidence and capacity to create positive change. I have a strong feeling in the depths of my heart and bones that this internship is a pivotal and important step of learning and growth and that something truly good is on its way. Let the chapter begin!
Text by Ruby Everett